Wine Clubs

I opened Uncorked Ventures because I noticed that the quality and selection of wines varied dramatically depending on where you lived (to be honest, there also seemed to be worse things to sell than wine).  San Francisco’s selection of outstanding, small production wines from the west coast was really quite good.  In San Diego  it was just ok.  My relatives in western New York? Non existent.

That’s the goal of my wine clubs, to deliver the type of wines that those within the wine industry choose to drink, directly to your front door.

I do that by spending time in wine country and getting to know winemakers and the vineyard owners that supply them with grapes.  I know what you’re thinking, people tell me the same thing all the time…..sounds like a rough part of the job…..Truthfully those interactions and the time in wine country make the hours packing boxes, fighting with software and dealing with the various issues that effect all small business worthwhile.

I want my various wine of the month club options to give people a sense of what of what’s happening in the wider wine industry. Of late, we’ve explored the rise of cooler vineyard sites, the reemergence of old vine Zinfandel and the rise of Cabernet Sauvignon in Santa Barbara as well as the wider industry trend of urban tasting rooms. I’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time talking about the number of female winemakers (or lack thereof), minorities within the wine industry, how the industry is collaborative and generally, how wine as an agricultural product changes so much year to year.

I chose to focus on the west coast states of California, Oregon and Washington, not because I think other regions both domestically and internationally are incapable of producing interesting and insightful 90 point wines, instead I’m simply not as capable at finding small vineyards and small scale artisan winemakers in Portugal, as I am in growing regions closer to my home.

A generation ago Kermit Lynch made a name for himself spending time in France and through personal relationships, he’s built perhaps the most respected wine store in America when it comes to French wine.  Perhaps not so simply, I wanted to do the same here, but instead of France, I wanted to showcase the best of Napa Valley, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, the Willamette Valley, the Rogue Valley, Walla Walla and Red Mountain.

In my opinion, too much wine in America is sold via emails, phone calls and through middle men like distributors and brokers. Not that I think all middle men and brokers are bad, or do a bad job, it’s just that if a grocery store is carrying the same wine in every location, for every vintage no matter what….is it clear that they care more about their relationship with the distributor, of their customer?  Plus, when you talk to people living and working in major wine regions, the stuff they’re drinking and are most interested in talking about, isn’t being sold via those channels.  They’re often interested in talking about a winemakers small label that’s made in his free time, or the small 1,000 case project an AVA away.

That’s also one of the reasons why too many people working at your local wine store can’t suggest something similar to the great bottle you found last week, they simply haven’t tried everything on their own shelves.

To try and source new and otherwise unknown wineries and wines, I close every meeting I have with two simple questions.

First, if you had to open a bottle tonight (not one you made) what would it be? (note, I don’t ask during harvest because after 16 hours of handling fermentation, almost universally the response is a local craft beer)

Secondly, who else should I be speaking with during my visit?

Lastly, I think it’s important to mention that I write the most informative and unique wine of the month club newsletters in the industry.  You won’t find the generic tasting notes here, instead you’ll hear about why I thought the bottles in your shipment were important and perhaps more importantly, how they came to be there in the first place.

I hope you’ll be able to say that after each shipment you learned a little something and had a good bottle of wine at a fair price.  If you can say that, I know I’ll have a wine club member for some time.

What People Are Saying

Consumer Advocate: A great find for wine enthusiasts searching for the best west coast wineries

Wine Club Reviews: When you purchase a subscription to an Uncorked Ventures wine club, you get a level of customer service most people don’t need but could certainly appreciate… they’ll honor any reasonable request one could expect of a wine club and are available via phone, email, twitter, Facebook, and “any way they might prefer to get in touch with us.” Very few companies would make this promise and we’re impressed.

Top 10 Meal Delivery Services:

This family-owned business gives you a feeling that the company genuinely cares about their customers. Mark Aselstine, the owner, is involved in almost every step of the process of delivering phenomenal West Coast wines to your home. He tastes the wines, he makes the selection, he writes newsletters and blogs, he even packs the bottles and answers customers’ emails. What makes Uncorked Ventures different is honest devotion to wines and a true dedication to the members of this wine club.

A few months after we opened some 5+ years ago, I had a potential customer ask for some information about the recent wines that we’ve featured as part of our monthly wine clubs. Over the years, we’ve had an increasing number of those type of requests. Unlike some of my competitors, I’m happy to share.

If you look below you’ll see a list of the 10 most recent wine club newsletters, every single one of which I post on our blog here at Uncorked Ventures. If you want to get a feel for the type of wines that we feature as part of our wine of the month clubs, that’s a pretty good place to start.